Archive for July 8th, 2011

by lizard

There is a branch of poetry I sometimes enjoy that can be loosely tied to the term “surrealism.”

Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members.

Surrealist works feature the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur; however, many Surrealist artists and writers[who?] regard their work as an expression of the philosophical movement first and foremost, with the works being an artifact.

Though I kinda like weird poems I don’t always understand, I have a feeling surrealist poetry is an acquired taste. I would be interested to hear what others think about the following selections below the fold. Continue Reading »

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by lizard

John Adams put a great post up yesterday at The Lowdown about our go-get’em Governor pulling out state involvement in the “Unified Command Team” overseeing the mitigation efforts of Exxon’s oil spill.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Thursday said the state is pulling out of the unified command team overseeing the cleanup of oil from a ruptured ExxonMobil pipeline that leaked an estimated 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River late last Friday.

Schweitzer accused ExxonMobil officials of not being transparent about the extent of the oil spill and the resulting cleanup effort.

“We’re actually pulling out of the incident command with ExxonMobil because they are refusing to be transparent with the public,” Schweitzer said in an interview Thursday. “They have security guards that don’t let the press in. They’re telling our Department of Environmental Quality officials that the documents that we’re sharing are not public documents, and I have said we will not be involved in an organization like that so we’re pulling out.”

It’s easy to cheer on the Governor in moments like these. When disaster strikes, and national attention descends on Montana, he’s great at spit-shining his belt buckle, adjusting his bolo tie, and saying what needs to be said.

But those words are being issued from just one of Brian’s faces; like most talented politicians, multiple faces are required to employ in different situations.

To exemplify this, it might be illuminating to compare and contrast the letter Governor Schweitzer sent Sherman Glass, president of Refining and Marketing at Exxon Mobile, demanding that any possible evidence in a (probably impending) future litigation case be preserved. It’s a good move, and sends strong notice to Exxon that the State of Montana is serious about looking into any possible criminal negligence, and holding those parties accountable (you can find the letter to Glass at The Lowdown).

But when the cameras and journalists leave after this story runs its course, and we look to future energy development in the state of Montana, what face will the Governor use?

This letter to Hillary Clinton states it pretty clearly: the full steam ahead one.

To: The Honorable Hillary Clinton,

Secretary of State

Like the Obama Administration, I am passionate about increasing domestic energy production. It is absolutely critical to our economic well-being, but even more important for our national security. Recent world events only underline the sense of urgency with which this country must act to secure and diversify its energy supplies from both renewable and traditional resources.

Completion of the Keystone XL pipeline project is an important component of an action plan that will increase our nation’s supply of conflict-free oil. I understand the need for the recent State Department decision to require a supplemental EIS for certain aspects of the project that need further analysis. I also agree that this project must be completed properly and in an environmentally responsible manner. At the same time, I strongly urge the State Department to complete its analysis and permitting activities as expeditiously as possible. The State of Montana is moving full speed ahead and will rapidly complete its environmental reviews. We will be able to provide to you the information necessary for the State Department to complete its own final environmental impact statement.

I expect that Keystone XL will pass muster with all federal and state environmental regulations, and I hope TransCanada can proceed to construction without undue delay.

Our nation’s addiction to unfriendly oil is a grave concern, both economically and from a foreign policy perspective. I believe that Montana, along with our neighboring states and provinces, can continue to provide commonsense solutions that will eventually eliminate the export of $1 billion each day to petro-dictators.

If there is any additional assistance I can provide concerning permitting of the Keystone XL project, please let me know. We will be doing our part here in Montana, and look forward to the Department of State completing its processes as soon as possible. I will inform you as soon as we complete our environmental reviews.

Brian Schweitzer,

Governor of Montana

With this face, Brian Schweitzer likes to champion the tar sands (and the Keystone XL pipeline) as conflict-free oil, and will pompously tell environmental activists and hollywood celebrities (like James Cameron) that

…he is tired of environmentalists and Hollywood celebrities such as Cameron “blowing smoke” when it comes to the oil sands.

“I would say this is conflict-free oil and I don’t want to send one more son or daughter from Montana to defend an oil supply from one of these dictators and become dependent on that energy supply,” he said in an interview with the Canadian Press from his office in Helena.

“Someday, I would say to him, we will not need the hydrocarbons. Someday we will run all electric cars. But in the meantime we need energy and the safest supply right now is coming from places like Alberta.”

Safe is a relative word when it comes to what some claim is one of the most environmentally destructive projects on earth.

Putting aside the contentious claim that the tar sands is “conflict-free” for a moment, the part of the letter to Clinton I find most troubling is this:

I expect that Keystone XL will pass muster with all federal and state environmental regulations, and I hope TransCanada can proceed to construction without undue delay.

Really Governor?

With the still unfolding local disaster of tens of thousands of gallons of oil that seeped into the Yellowstone, what additional assurances can the Governor give the citizens of this state that federal and state environmental regulations will “pass muster”. And if they don’t, what resources are at the Governor’s disposal to make sure TransCanada (a company already running into trouble with a few Eastern Montanans?) complies?

I think those are fair questions; ones I hope the Governor considers during the remaining time he has as Governor, and beyond.




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